Monday, May 03, 2004

the long goodbye

It has begun. All of the wonderful phrases that begin with, "This may be the last time I (or we)...", fill in the blank. It's all coming to a close. It seems harder to me to say goodbye to good friends than people that aren't really close. Now before you say, "Duhh," allow me to elaborate.

People I don't know so well I can say goodbye to because I really mean "goodbye." I don't plan on every seeing those folks again. But for close friends, it doesn't seem like a "goodbye" moment. Upon our departure, it seems more like a "see ya later." Granted, the later is a MUCH later. But even still, I plan on keeping in touch with my close friends no matter where they are in the world. I imagine that we will hang out again in the future.

So the dilemma is knowing that it is a "goodbye" moment but not really "feeling" it. It seems kinda rude to say "see ya later" at the point of departure. I mean, "see ya later" doesn't really encompass the gravity of the moment. So what words do I use? Peace out!? Outtie!? Word to yo' mama!? Catch ya on the flip side!? (Whatever the heck that means.) See you in heaven!? (the favorite Crosspoint departure phrase).

Or maybe the moment doesn't require words that express leaving for some allotted amount of time. Maybe the moment of departure is simply a time to express what we mean to each other. It seems to me that what we mean to each other in the present is a combination of what we have meant to each other in the past and what we will mean to each other in the future. The present expression of feelings sort of encompass all the great moments of the past and an expectation of the future.

I guess Chad does this the best. He says goodbye and see you later and all of that. But more importantly he says things like "I love you man" and "I care about you holmes." He flavors this sentiment with just enough masculinity to not feel "gay" about it. And he says those statements in the present tense. Those kind of expressions of care sort of summarize the past and extend into the future.

And that is really what we mean anyway, isn't it? When we say those long goodbyes, we don't really mean "goodbye." We don't really mean "see ya later." That may be what our mouth says, because its easier to say. But what we really mean is, "I will miss you," "I care about you, " and "I love you."

Father, thank you for the many memories that I have packed away with friends in the last three years. Thank you that it will me a lifetime to unpack them.


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